Alberta’s auditor general released his report on public post-secondary school finances on March 12, and a few schools have some explaining to do. According to the press release, Northern Lakes College, Grant MacEwan University, Alberta College of Art and Design, NorQuest College and Olds College are afflicted by a widespread “lack of basic financial controls.”
At ACAD, auditors discovered $600,000 in cheques were inappropriately back-dated and coded.
“Good financial reporting and internal controls allow an organization to have systems to help prevent and detect if fraud is occurring,” said assistant auditor general Jeff Dumont.
ACAD chief financial officer Don Dart agrees that the way finances are handled at an institution can help prevent fraud and enhance efficiency, but he downplays the report’s findings on his employer.
“It is quite a bit of work to get a proper enterprise risk program in place, and I dare say that probably 75 per cent of the post-secondary schools in this province don’t have a comprehensive enterprise risk management program, even though the auditor general is recommending it,” says Dart.
“As long as the information is presented fairly and accurately... [banks or investors] wouldn’t be that interested in the underlying controls unless there was evidence of fraud,” he adds. “And clearly that’s not the case here at the college.”